The Keene facility saves 139,000 kilowatt hours annually through a no-cost initiative.
What does it sound like to save energy? For the Advanced Optics facility in Keene, New Hampshire, it sounds noticeably quieter.
In 2020, the plant's Global Energy Management team approached facility leadership with a no-cost proposal to have an energy savings firm conduct an audit of the internal air systems' energy consumption to showcase the firm's service offering. The assessment revealed two key contributors to system inefficiency: the high-pressure settings on the facility's compressed air system and the large amount of air consumed by the facility's diamond-turning machines.
"If you ever visit a facility that uses compressed air, you'll hear a quiet hissing," said the site energy manager. "What you might not realize is that the hissing is actually air escaping from the internal air system, which is lost energy."
Using the key findings, the site energy manager and his team found a difference of five pounds per square inch (PSIG) between the air compressor room and the diamond-turning area. This meant the high-initial pressure was causing air loss even before it reached the facility's area of highest demand.
The team started the project by monitoring the compressed air system for power, flow, and pressure. Then, they observed the system's setpoints, arrangements, and overall setup to determine how to optimize it to reduce air loss and, ultimately, save energy. By simply reducing the pressure of the system from 146 PSIG to 128 PSIG, the facility will save around $11,000 and 92,000 kilowatt hours (kWH) of energy per year.
But the team did not stop there. They further optimized the system by lowering the pressure in the facility's non-regulated areas and achieved an additional savings of 38 PSIG, which will save an extra 47,000 kWH. Between these two initiatives, the team has saved more than $17,000 and 139,000 kWH of energy, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of approximately 13 households over a one-year time period.
"This latest initiative only adds to the facility's impressive energy management track record," said the Keene plant manager. "We invested nothing but manpower and creative thinking for an optimization that will save the company more than $17,000 per year in energy costs – now that's innovation!"
Finding new ways to reduce cost and improve efficiency is nothing new for the Advanced Optics plant. Keene is one of Corning's 37 manufacturing facilities to exceed energy efficiency goals set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® Challenge for Industry program.
As a Challenge for Industry Achiever, Keene increased energy efficiency by at least 10% in five years or less.